Book It: Our Five Can’t-Miss Readings This Week


Dina Nayeri & Julia Fierro
Book Court
Tonight, 7pm, Free
When one considers radical literature, old issues of Life magazine with Molly Ringwald and Barbara Streisand on the cover might not immediately come to mind. But for the 11-year-old twin sisters who are the protagonists of Dina Nayeri’s new novel, they are treasured and illegal artifacts of Western culture. A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (Riverhead) is about siblings leading parallel lives, one in an imagined America, the other under Iran’s newly instated Islamic regime. Nayeri, who grew up in Tehran during the Revolution and moved to Oklahoma at ten, will read and discuss with novelist Julia Fierro.

Lorrie Moore & Sherman Alexie
Symphony Space
Tonight, 7:30 p.m., $15-$28
What do Lorrie Moore and Sherman Alexie have in common? Well on paper — literal paper — they’re both short-story mavens and New Yorker contributors. Moreover, even with Moore often writing about terminal illness and Alexie about modern Native American despair, they both, on occasion, manage to be damn funny. So we’re glad these two have teamed up to headline this edition of the “Selected Shorts” series. Their stories will be performed by Sex and the City‘s Cynthia Nixon and actress/frequent literary scenester Amber Tamblyn.

Michael Zapruder
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
Friday, 5 p.m., Free
In a country that loves road narratives in direct proportion to how much it complains about gas prices, it’s a wonder so many of us come up with so many excuses for not hitting the highway on that badass transformational journey we all yearn for: money, time, rest stop bathrooms, the gradual mounting annoyingness of our travel companions, shudder-provoking motel crimes, et al. But Michael Zapruder has done it! After a week-long road trip through the American south that he took six years ago, the folk musician is releasing Pink Thunder (Black Ocean) — a collaborative project involving 23 poets and artists. The new book and companion album highlight the importance of textual content in folk music and the flip side in poetry. Zapruder will read and perform.

Jamaica Kincaid & Darryl Pinckney
92nd Street Y
Monday, 8:15 p.m., $19
It seems like whenever authors write fiction that’s autobiographical, or semi-autobiographical, or even just garnished with a few autobiographical rainbow sprinkles, there’s comes a swift critical “we caught you” period followed by the de facto denial response. Case in point here, with Kincaid’s new novel See Now Then (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The question of whether or not it is actually about her late marriage — as it pretty clearly seems to be — is claiming the bulk of attention, at least in the Amazonian jungles of reader commentary. In this conversation she will discuss audience-submitted questions with fellow novelist Darryl Pinckney.

McSweeney’s Issue 42 Launch Party
McNally Jackson
Tuesday, 7 p.m., Free
Bi-, tri-, and multi-linguists of all levels should check this one out. The concept behind the new edition of McSweeney’s reminds us of either a Borges story — postmodernly bitchy in the very best way — or just a very long, rather involved game of “telephone.” In Issue 42, titled “Multiples,” rare works by authors you probably haven’t heard much about since they were name-dropped by some of the more ambitious students in undergrad philosophy — we’re talking Kierkegaard, Enrique Vila-Matas, Krasznahorkai, etc. — will be translated into English, and then back, and then back to English again, six times over by different writers. Clearly not the recess pastime you remember, but we wager it’ll still end up as some nonsense about a hippopotamus and a banana. At this release party, contributors Colm Tóibín, Julie Orringer, Sheila Heti, and many more will read, followed by a Q&A, trivia, and impromptu toasts.